Aberdeen goalkeeper Jason Brown today claimed he can leave Hibs empty-handed as he bids to maintain an outstanding run of form which has seen him lose just three goals in seven matches.
After ousting on-loan Manchester City star David Gonzalez from the Pittodrie side’s starting line-up, the Welsh internationalist believes he has repaid boss Craig Brown’s faith in him with his return to action coinciding with the Dons hauling themselves into the SPL top six.
Although his current record speaks for itself, the 29-year-old former Blackburn Rovers keeper revealed his stats over the course of this season are equally impressive. He said: “The SPL sent me a stat earlier this week which said I’m under the rate of conceding one goal per game, and that is taking in my 13 starts.
“While I have only conceded nine goals in 13 games, the team let in 22 goals in the first 22. I needed the opportunity to show what I could do in the first team and thankfully the gaffer handed it to me.
“The best way for me to repay that faith is to keep clean sheets and put in consistently strong performances.
“Hopefully I can continue to do that at Easter Road.”
Brown’s performances have seen him retain the gloves ahead of the Dons recognised No. 1 Jamie Langfield who has battled back to fitness having suffered a brain haemorrhage last June, but he insisted he alone can’t take all the praise, adamant the Dons back four have played as big a part in driving the side from the Granite City from the foot of the table to sixth place.
It was a run which began with a controversial Scott Vernon penalty which sank Hibs at Pittodrie in mid-December, the award made when Peter Pawlett went down under a challenge from Easter Road winger Ivan Sproule – the Dons kid later hit with a two-match ban for diving which he didn’t contest.
The decision by referee Craig Thomson, who later sent off Pawlett for a lunge at Lewis Stevenson only to see that call rescinded, infuriated Sproule who thereafter launched a scathing attack on the official for his blunders, an outburst which earned him a suspended ban for talking out of turn.
Hibs manager Pat Fenlon will no doubt highlight the injustices of that day when he delivers his team talk to his new-look side ahead of today while Brown admitted the Capital club will make it tough despite their lowly position in the SPL, particularly for an Aberdeen side which has a string of key players out injured while Icelandic midfield powerhouse Kari Arnason sits out the match through suspension.
Dismissing the fact Craig Brown will be fielding what could be regarded as a “skeleton” side, Brown insisted: “If this club has any aspirations of achieving anything then we have to deal with teams like Hibs, even with injuries.
“Hibs away will be tough as they are fighting for their lives. After winning three of their last five games Hibs will be hoping their season is starting to turn. We have to put a dent in that to ensure we stay in the top six.”
Brown can do so by clocking up another shut-out although, he claimed, that as satisfying as that would be, he has his eyes set on ensuring his stats at the end of the season match up to those he currently enjoys.
He said: “Ultimately those clean sheets and stats mean nothing at the moment. If I still have a ratio like that at the end of the season, only then can I be proud.”